Thirteen Amazing Health Benefits of Green Tea
Some cultures have recognized the health benefits of drinking green tea for hundreds or even thousands of years. It’s only been in the past couple of decades, however, that scientists have studied the benefits of green tea and green tea extract in earnest.
Studies have consistently demonstrated the positive effects of green tea on health and the body, thanks to the tealeaf’s richness in heath-promoting compounds called flavonoids and catechins. Keep reading for a list of some of the best green tea benefits we know of.
1. Reduced risk of cancer. Catechins are consistently (but not yet extensively) linked to inhibiting the growth of many types of cancer cells, including but not necessarily limited to cancers of the skin, breast, lung, colon, esophagus, and bladder. The benefits extend to patients who have already fought (and beat) cancer – participants in one research study in Japan who regularly and consistently drank green tea experienced lower rates of the reappearance of cancer over a period of time when compared to those who didn’t drink green tea.
2. Shrinks existing tumors. The research is just beginning in this area, but preliminary studies show that applications of green tea-rich compounds contributed to tumor shrinkage in lab tests, though other methods of delivering the green tea extracts did nothing to affect the size of the tumors. Another study showed that green tea, when combined with radioactive gold molecules, worked effectively to shrink prostate cancer tumors in lab mice.
3. Reduces inflammation. Doctors and scientists are beginning to understand the link between inflammation at a cellular level and all kinds of diseases. Green tea provides anti-inflammatory effects, which some researchers suggest would reduce the risk factors for most major Western diseases.
4. Reduced risk of heart disease. Green tea gives heart disease a triple punch. First, it blocks the oxidation of LDL, or bad cholesterol, making it less likely to calcify and cause problems. Next, it increases the presence of HDL, the good cholesterol. And third, the compounds in green tea improve artery function and fight atherosclerosis.
5. Boosts the immune system. Researchers at Oregon State University found that green tea promotes the number of “T cells” in the body. These cells are an important part of the immune system, responsible for suppressing an autoimmune response while allowing it to work unhindered on foreign cells.
6. Hydrates. Regularly drinking green tea hydrates the body and helps to keep you from becoming dehydrated. While it’s not pure water you’re taking in, which is often the best way to rehydrate, a cup of green tea still results in a net gain of water without all the negative stuff like sodium and sugar that other non-water beverages might contribute. Green tea does contain caffeine, but there’s not enough caffeine in a serving of green tea – even a strong cup – to outweigh the benefits of the increased fluids (not to mention all the other benefits listed here!).
7. Provides antioxidants. Green tea is packed with antioxidants, making it beneficial for all sorts of conditions and reducing the overall wear and tear on your body and skin. The same things that make blueberries and dark chocolate good for you also make green tea good for you.
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